South Carolina man guilty in 1st federal gender identity hate crime case

South Carolina Gender Identity Hate Crime

It took a jury only four hours to convict Daqua Lameek Ritter, 26, (right) a South Carolina man, of murdering Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, (left) 24, a Black transgender woman, in the first federal trial for a hate crime based on the victim’s perceived gender identity. Photos: Facebook and United States Department of Justice

It took a jury only four hours to convict a South Carolina man of murdering a Black transgender woman in the first federal trial for a hate crime based on the victim’s perceived gender identity.

Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was found shot to death in her car in Allendale, South Carolina, on Aug. 4, 2019.

On Friday, Daqua Lameek Ritter, 26, was found guilty of all counts including one hate crime count, one federal firearm count, and one obstruction count in Doe’s murder.

Prosecutors said Ritter killed Doe to hide their sexual relationship and his own sexual identity.

A second man, Xavier Pinckney, 24, was charged with two obstruction counts for providing false and misleading statements to authorities investigating the murder.

Pinckney pleaded guilty to a single count of obstruction in October.

Trans pioneer Sir Lady Java fought LAPD discrimination in 1967

“Acts of violence against LGBTQI+ people, including transgender women of color like Dime Doe, are on the rise and have no place in our society,” Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said in a statement issued Saturday.

More than 30 transgender and gender non-conforming people were killed last year, the overwhelming majority of them were Black or Latino.

“The jury’s verdict sends a clear message: Black trans lives matter, bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated, and perpetrators of hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the statement.

Prosecutors presented witnesses in court last week who testified that Ritter grew angry and defensive when questioned by friends about his relationship with Doe. The small-knit community of roughly 8,000 residents knew that Doe started her transition shortly after high school, and Doe had reportedly told people of her sexual relationship with Ritter.

Gender identity became a basis for federal hate crime prosecution in 2019. While this case is the first trial using gender identity as a basis for a federal hate crime, it’s not the first time a person has been prosecuted under gender identity as a reason for a federal hate crime. 

Joshua Vallum pled guilty to the murder of Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old transgender female, in 2015. Vallum used a stun gun to incapacitate the teenager before stabbing and beating her to death.

Much like the case of Ritter and Doe, prosecutors said Vallum killed Williamson to hide their sexual relationship and his sexual identity from fellow gang members.

In a South Carolina courtroom last week, a former girlfriend, Yanna Albany, testified Ritter became angry and used a homophobic slur when she broke up with him due to his relationship with Doe. Albany, Doe’s cousin, said Ritter grew enraged, accused Doe of lying, and threatened to beat Doe when Albany revealed she had learned of the relationship from Doe.

Prosecutors said at trial that Ritter used Pinckney’s phone to arrange a meeting with Doe on the day of the murder and was later seen with Doe in a car as she was ticketed for a traffic violation.

Ritter faces a maximum of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

His sentencing date has not yet been announced.

U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina said he hopes the conviction will help Doe’s surviving family and friends deal with her loss.

“As Dime Doe’s loved ones remember her, we hope this verdict provides them some comfort,” Boroughs in the statement.

This article originally appeared on, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.

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Donald Padgett

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